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Aladino Dionson, Filomeno Umbria, Noel Lahao-lahao, Juanita Monteroyo and Wilfredo
Monteroyo and Demetrio Escoreal, all decent were members of a fishing outfit, the "IWAG"
or more popularly called the "ALEX", owned by petitioner herein, Dr. Agustino R. Abong.

May 15, 1966, this fishing outfit set out to sea. The decedents were among the 70 crew
members. While they were, thus, fishing, typhoon "IRMA" passed along their way, scattering
the boats and blowing them far out into the open sea. The tragedy netted eight (8) dead
while some sixty (60) men survived the disaster.

As a consequence of the incident seven (7) notices and claims for death compensation were
filed with the Bacolod Sub-Regional Office of the Department of Labor by herein private

A copy of the notices and claims were sent to petitioner Dr. Agustino R. Abong by registered
mail at his place of business, but the envelopes containing said notices and claims were
returned unclaimed, although petitioner was personally notified thrice.

After due hearing before Acting Referee, Bertito D. Dadivas, he rendered on August 1, 1966,
a decision granting the claims.

Petitioner filed a (1) motion to set aside the order declaring him in default and a (2) separate
motion to set aside the Decision of the Acting Referee, to which seasonable oppositions
were interposed by private respondents on September 26, 1966.

ISSUE: Who is the statutory employer of the decedents and who should be liable for their death

There is a faint attempt by petitioner Agustino R. Abong to evade liability by advancing the
theory that he had absolutely no voice or intervention in the choice, hiring, dismissing,
control, supervision and compensation of the fishermen-crew members, and that these
matters, which are the essence of employer-employee relationship, are the sole
responsibility of the team leader, Simplicio Panganiban, and the team-members or crew
pursuant to their Agreement

The contention of petitioner is devoid of merit. It should be pointed out that this case is an
appeal from the decision of the Workmen's Compensation Commission. And in this class of

proceedings, only questions of law should be raised, the findings of facts made by the
Commission being conclusive and binding upon this Court.

Court finds the findings of fact made by Associate (Medical) Commissioner Herminia CasteloSotto, M.D., and concurred in by the Commission en banc to be fully supported by the evidence
on record which clearly points out that petitioner Agustino R. Abong is the statutory employer of
the decedents.

As pointed out by the Commission's findings, the fundamental bases showing that petitioner,
Dr. Agustino R. Abong, is the employer, are present, namely, the selection and engagement
of the employee; the payment of wages; the power of dismissal and the employer's power to
control the employees' conduct.

These powers were lodged in petitioner Abong, thru his agent, Simplicio Panganiban, whom he
alleges to be his "partner". On this score alone, the petitioner for review must fail. It is well-settled
that employer-employee relationship involves findings of fact which are conclusive and binding
and not subject to review by this Court.